Ensure level playing field in LS polls: Priyanka Gandhi urges EC

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addresses I.N.D.I.A. bloc's 'Loktantra Bachao Rally' at Ramleela Maidan, in New Delhi, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The opposition INDIA bloc on Sunday urged the Election Commission to ensure a level playing field in the Lok Sabha polls and asserted that despite the BJP creating "undemocratic obstacles", the alliance is committed to fight, win and save the country's democracy.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra read out the demands of the opposition alliance at the 'Loktantra Bachao Rally' at the Ramlila ground here. She said the Election Commission should ensure a level playing field for all parties in Lok Sabha elections.

The poll panel should stop the Enforcement Directorate, CBI and the Income Tax department's actions against opposition parties being taken to adversely impact the elections, the Congress leader demanded, adding that former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal be immediately released.

During the elections, action to forcefully scuttle the finances of opposition parties should be immediately stopped, she said, reading out the INDIA bloc's demands at the rally.

The opposition alliance also demanded that a Supreme Court-monitored SIT be set to probe the BJP's "extortion" of funds through the electoral bonds scheme.

Last month, the Supreme Court annulled the electoral bonds scheme for political funding, saying it violates the Constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression as well as the right to information.

Addressing the rally, Priyanka Gandhi said that despite the BJP creating "undemocratic obstacles", the INDIA bloc was committed to fighting, winning, and saving democracy in India.

In her remarks before reading out the INDIA bloc's demands, she said, "I have been coming to Ramlila Maidan since childhood. Every year Ravan's effigy is set on fire."

"When I was a kid, I used to come (here) with my grandmother Indira Ji and she used to narrate the Ramayana to me. Those in power today call themselves Ram Bhakts. When I was sitting here I thought that I should say something to them. I want to remind them of the 1,000-year-old tale and its message."

"When Lord Ram fought for truth, he did not have power, resources or even a chariot. Ravan had chariots, resources, army and gold but Lord Ram had truth, hope, belief, love, kindness, modesty, patience, courage and truth. I want to tell those in power and PM Narendra Modi that the message of Lord Ram's life is that power is not permanent... and arrogance gets shattered," Priyanka Gandhi added. 

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